A mother's loss turns to motivation, new career to fighting cancer

For Yvonne Nagel, a trip to the emergency room turned into a journey she could not imagine. Her 12-year-old daughter Grace had complained of pain in her left knee. Nagel previously worked in radiology and sat behind the xray scanners. To her medical eye, she saw a tumor.

“Our worst nightmares came true,” Nagel said. 

Grace was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in March 2014. The tumor in her knee quickly spread to her lungs. This past December, after 22 months of fighting, Grace lost her battle and passed away.  

“I literately could just feel the life draining out of me,” Nagel said. 

Remembered for her strong spirit, doctors used to call her Amazing Grace.   

“People would say, you are amazing grace, you are 'Amazing Grace',” Nagel said. “And she would say, well actually I’m just Grace. But God is amazing.”  

After watching her daughter fight through radiation treatments, Nagel told FOX 46 Charlotte she never thought she could work in radiation therapy. But she was inspired by her daughter, who was always looking for ways to help other children with osteosarcoma. Nagel promised Grace she would go back to school and train to give radiation therapy treatments to children.

“She was just really ecstatic about it,” Nagel said. “She said that would be really awesome, I’d be so proud of you.”

Nagel said that although she can never move on, her work is a way to honor her daughter. The Huntersville community also came up with ways to honor Grace, and started the KIC 5K at Grove Elementary School. Last October Grace watched 600 runners support her. This year Nagel hopes the strong spirit of Amazing Grace can still live on through the race.

“We need the community. I can’t do it by myself. It takes a lot of people gathering together and fighting this terrible disease.”

The race will be held on October 15, 2016 at Grand Oak Elementary School at 9 a.m. Donations will go to supporting two local children fighting cancer.

To register for the race, CLICK HERE.

To donate, CLICK HERE